In Defense of Overaccessorising My Bikini

The team at Who What Wear UK has noticed fully accessorised beach looks popping up everywhere as of late, and we knew exactly who would be able to walk us through such a bold fashion movement. Fashion writer, stylist and influencer Anna Rosa Vitiello of And Finally is the beach goddess who lives by a “more is more” mantra, and she has kindly shared her tips, tricks and knowledge below so you can have your most fashionable summer jaunt yet.

I’ve come to the conclusion that being overdressed is an art form. Not least because it involves curating a wardrobe full of stuff that you really, genuinely love, but also because there’s a lot that goes into physically piling “too much” on. When the wave of minimalist, normcore dressing happened a few years back, trying to get on board was, for me, like a whale trying not to tip the scales (aka impossible).

I like dressing up—I really like it; having fun with fashion brings me joy (thank you, Marie Kondo, for the tip). I mention the minimalism thing because for years I’d put on a bikini and feel a little strange. It felt like my style had no soul: Where are the earrings? What’s with the simplicity? said the voice in my head, and I felt alarmed by a suitcase distinctly bereft of accessory excess. So I set about doing some Pinterest research to help find my swimwear identity.

Photo:

Anna Rosa Vitiello

What I found were archive ’90s Vogue images of Claudia Schiffer and Linda Evangelista frolicking on the beach in pearls, earrings and gloves, and I thought, Good god, they look like they’re having fun. Then I searched “Sofia Loren beach,” and bam—just like that, I’d identified my swimwear soul sisters. Why had I been sporting low-slung bikini bottoms and strappy sandals all these years? They were about as “me” as a carb-free diet (I’m Italian—that’s just not going to happen), and now they were gone.

Photo:

Anna Vitiello

In their place, I found high-rise bikini bottoms with belted waists, necklaces that were definitely not made for the beach and silk scarves to tie around my head in place of straw hats that had long been doing me a disservice. I took to the beach in no less than everything I fancied wearing (yes, all at once), and I breathed a sight of relief at feeling one with my summer self.

Photo:

Anna Vitiello

And now that the bountiful beach look is finally sweeping the social sphere, I feel elated at the growing inspiration filling my Instagram feed. Not that I’d run out of ideas, mind—they’re plentiful, just like my beach bag repertoire—but I’m enjoying the new roster of brands producing the accessories I’ve been longing for all this time.

Photo:

Anna Vitiello

Of course, there are practicalities to consider here. Firstly, avid swimmers should approach the accessorised beach look with caution—the pile-on, pile-off process can be a pain in the sandy ass. But if, like me, you’re willing, you’ll reap the rewards of wearing things that arouse a feeling of ultimate summer joy. And secondly, you’ll have to think through what is beach-appropriate: Much as you might like your new beaded mini bag that fits tonally with your striped suit, you’ll be shaking the contents of the beach out of that pretty little thing until Christmas. But still, experimenting is part of the fun.

Photo:

Anna Vitiello

There are countless ways that adding an accessory to your bikini can make it infinitely better. Your favourite suit not doing you justice round your middle? Belt it for instant definition. Or try layering a few necklaces over that bikini you weren’t sure if you could wear again for yet the umpteenth summer. Perpetually fighting the flyaways that insist on differentiating themselves from the rest of your hair? A silk scarf tied over the crown of your head and ’round the neck will not only keep them at bay, but save you precious time with tongs and straighteners that could be better spent sipping on your granita by the pool.

Photo:

Anna Vitiello

I’m not saying this approach will bring everyone joy—plenty of my friends find theirs in simple bandeau tops without a ring or scarf in sight. And yes, some might also take the view that being flirty and frivolous with your style isn’t cool or chic (those people might have stopped reading at paragraph two). But what I am trying to suggest through not-so-subliminal messaging is that you never know until you try it. I’m glad I did, because I now spend my summers fooling myself that I’m the Pinterest Sofia Loren reincarnate. I jest—I know I’m not, but I’m still having the best time trying. Join me, won’t you?

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Follow more of Anna’s fashion adventures via her Instagram, @annarvitiello.